We’ve all been there – it’s time for our child to do whatever it is needs doing, but they dig in their heels and refuse. Sure, we could force them into whatever it is, but that would be neither gentle nor respectful. Plus, that’s stressful for us, too! Enter playful parenting to the rescue.
Here are three common power struggles parents face and how we can use playful parenting to ease the tension – AND get the job done.
Your child is clamping down with a clear no-entry sign across their mouth. As it turns out, however, you’re not a toothbrush wielding parent; you’re an adventurous cave explorer. Their toothbrush is your flashlight and you’re there to explore the amazing stalactites and stalagmites in their cave. The combination of imagination and adventure works wonders!
If your little one has trouble remembering to check in with their body, or rejects the idea when you suggest it, join their world of play. Are they playing dress-up? Roll out an imaginary red carpet for your prince or princess and march together to the royal, ahem, throne. Too busy driving cars? There’s a motor speedway they can follow right into the bathroom! Vroom, vroom…drive right in there together.
Cleaning up toys
You might see a room that looks like a hurricane just blew through, but your child sees those piles of toys as a world of possibilities. Too many baby dolls on the floor? Decorate a box with your child to make a nice “bed.” Help your little one pile those babies in there to “snuggle.” Crayons scattered across the kitchen floor? Grab a bag, call it the “Crayon-Eating Monster” and help your child “feed” it. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a struggle.
Consent is Still Important in Playful Parenting
All this said, consent is important. If your child isn’t willing to play along with you, there’s great power in saying, “I’ll wait until you’re ready.” Validate their feelings with empathy and try again later. You might just find that the next time, with a playful parenting approach, things go much more smoothly.
Find more playful parenting ideas in the author’s original post.